Lawrence Hill attack: Almost a third of residents affected by fear of crime every day

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Two teenage boys and a man have been arrested following the incident

The death of a teenager in Bristol has caused shock to people living nearby - but recent figures show almost a third of residents in the neighbourhood say the fear of crime affects their daily lives.

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A 19-year-old man was later arrested on suspicion of murder.

Two teenage boys were also arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of the detained 19-year-old, who needed hospital treatment for injuries.

At the crime scene where police officers remained today (Friday, October 15), BristolWorld heard from shocked residents in the wake of the incident.

Yet a survey published by Bristol City Council, called Quality of Life in Bristol Report 2020-2021, reveals that 31 per cent of people living in Lawrence Hill say fear of crime ‘affects their every day lives’.

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The ward has the second highest percentage in Bristol, behind only Hartcliffe and Withywood ward, at 42 per cent.

Despite this, the report did show that 81 per cent of people in Lawrence Hill ‘feel safe’ while outdoors during the day. Although, that fell to 45 per cent after dark.

Close to the police cordon on Friday morning, an elderly man returning to the block of flats where he lives said he was ‘upset’ to hear how young the victim was.

He added: “I live less than a metre away from that police tape. This happened, quite literally, on my doorstep.

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“It’s far too close to home. I lost my dad and brother, so I’m alone. Lived here for years. I’m ok though, most of the time.”

A police cordon near Hayes Close in Lawrence Hill.A police cordon near Hayes Close in Lawrence Hill.
A police cordon near Hayes Close in Lawrence Hill.

The cordoned-off area covered a wide expanse, scaling all the way from the Trinity Centre to the Lawrence Hill Roundabout.

Despite the tragic incident, there appeared a sense that people living and working in the area wanted to get on with their day-to-day lives.

Many pass through Lawrence Hill on their way to Broadmead, and there are multiple cyclists and commuters en-route to Temple Meads.

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Asked if the area was safe, one man, who did not wish to be named, said: “In the 70s and 80s we’d have running gun battles in St Pauls and Stapleton. Then there were the riots, which basically saw the whole place set on fire.

“Obviously, you can’t say after what’s happened it’s 100 per cent safe. But I’d say the area has improved. This kind of thing isn’t as common these days.”

Police vehicles parked off Lawrence Hill roundabout.Police vehicles parked off Lawrence Hill roundabout.
Police vehicles parked off Lawrence Hill roundabout.

One woman in her early 80s said: “I come here for shopping and through to Broadmead quite a lot, and I’m usually alright, although I’m too scared to use the main underpass.

“Saying that, I definitely wouldn’t walk round here at night.”

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Yassin Mohamud, Bristol City Councillor for Lawrence Hill, said that while his ward was a nice area and home ‘to many good people’, it was plagued by certain issues that could not be ignored any longer.

“Unemployment is high here,” he said, “and there is a problem with drugs.

“What happened last night is awful, and at the moment my main thoughts are with the family of the young man who lost his life.

“We certainly don’t want anything like this to happen in Lawrence Hill again and I believe in order to ensure that we need a multi-agency response.

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“We all need to work together - police, organisations and the community - to tackle the crime rate in Lawrence Hill.

“Early intervention is key, not just in Lawrence Hill, but nationally. Our young people need more support and opportunities.”

Bristol Commander Superintendent Mark Runacres said that multiple agencies would work in partnership improve safety and prevent further tragedy.

He told BristolWorld: “We’ve increased our patrols in the area, providing a point of contact for people out and about, and will maintain that presence over the coming days for a wider message of reassurance.

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“But our second, more targeted activity involves working closely with Bristol City Council, local organisations, residents and groups to understand the dynamics surrounding last night’s incident.

“We are also providing support to young people and their families who have any concerns or feel they may be subject to any ongoing risk.

“We’re calling the community together to help us build an accurate picture of the landscape, engage young people in positive activities while mitigating any existing tensions and prevent this kind of tragic event from happening again.

“It’s important for us to reflect our sympathies towards the friends and family of the deceased, and thank the community for their support with our investigation.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101 quoting reference 885 of 14 October.

Alternatively, they can ring the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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